Thousands watched the almost two-hour show at the Zambaonga City Coliseum, and smiling youngsters from Taiwan filled the stage with vibrant colors of orange, yellow, green and aqua as they gracefully danced and performed comical skits depicting Taiwan’s history and folk sports.
The show, entitled “Touch Your Heart”, is a post-celebration of the 2008 Chinese Lunar New Year which is part of Taiwan’s goodwill mission to promote the multi-faceted Taiwanese culture.
Since 2000, the Taiwanese Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission has devoted efforts to promoting cultural exchanges with the international community and for other countries to develop a better understanding and recognition of Taiwan.
“We hope to promote the wonder and beauty of Taiwanese culture through this Asian tour,” said Jacqueline Liu, deputy representative of the Taiwanese Consular Office.
The troupe previously performed in Malaysia and Indonesia. After Zamboanga City, they will be performing in Tarlac province before leaving the country and heading to Vietnam and Japan. The troupe has been invited to perform in other countries as well, like Singapore, United States, Germany, France, and Russia.
The presentation was highlighted by unique and acrobatic performances on traditional folk sports such as diabolo spinning, rope skipping, and top twirling together with dragon dancing and iron fan dancing. These traditional games are a favorite recreational pastime of children in Taiwan.
The folk sports troupe is a 40-member delegation composed of 32 seventh to ninth graders from Keelung Chung Cheng Junior Middle School, headed by team leader Ching-Rong Ke.
“The students train for about two years, and because the skills are so fancy they like to practice in their free time,” shared Ke.
“I feel very excited about this tour, and I enjoy doing the tricks,” said 16-year-old Tsai Ping-Lin. Lin is one of the diabolo spinners of the troupe.
Liu said that the delegation spends about four days in each country, so that the children can also have a tour of the cities where they perform. For this visit, the delegation was treated to an authentic Chavacano cuisine and a tour to the city’s historical landmarks like the Fort Pilar shrine and Pasonanca Park.
“The people here are very friendly, like in Taiwan. It is so much like home,” added Lin.
The show was made possible through the efforts of the Zamboanga Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and the Zamboanga Chong Hua High School board of trustees in cooperation with the city government. (Angel Tiamson-Saceda/MindaNews)